Feb 10 A former senior UBS private banker has
agreed to plead guilty in connection with a criminal indictment
for selling offshore tax-evasion services to wealthy Americans,
according to court documents.
The former banker, Martin Lack, is a Swiss national who was
indicted in 2011 in Florida on a charge of conspiracy to defraud
the United States.
In a court filing last week, Lack's attorney and the U.S.
Department of Justice asked a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida to set a date for Lack to plead guilty. The next day,
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas scheduled a hearing for
Lack's attorney Peter Raben could not immediately be reached
for comment on Monday, and a Justice Department representative
declined to comment. The court documents do not state the charge
to which Lack has agreed plead guilty.
U.S. authorities, who suspect tens of thousands of Americans
are using Swiss banks to avoid paying billions of dollars in
taxes, have been conducting a wide criminal investigation into
scores of Swiss banks and international banks with Swiss
UBS paid a $780 million fine in a 2009 settlement and agreed
to hand over the names of U.S. clients with secret accounts,
breaking Switzerland's tradition of banking secrecy, to avoid
feared criminal charges against the bank or other executives.
Raoul Weil, the ex-head of wealth management at UBS, was
arrested in last year while on vacation with his wife at an
upscale hotel in the northern Italian city of Bologna. He was
extradited to the United States in December and if found guilty
faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit tax
Weil had been scheduled for trial in Florida on Feb. 18.
However, the trial was recently postponed for eight months to
allow the defense more time to prepare.
In Lack's case, the indictment cited work with nine wealthy
American clients, including one who traveled to a hotel in New
Orleans and handed Lack $200,000 in cash to take back to
Switzerland. Lack also encouraged American clients not to come
forward to the IRS under a "voluntary disclosure" program that
reduced fines and penalties, court papers said.
The case in U.S. District Court, Southern District of
Florida is United States of America vs. Martin Lack,